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Warning over new health visitors

28th June 2010

The Royal College of GPs has said the government's plans to place thousands of new workers in children's hospitals will worsen communication.

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GPs have said there are problems in communication between health visitors who work in the Sure Start centres and themselves, and adding the extra visitors would exacerbate the problem.

However, children's charities have said that a more "informal approach" would work better for families.

The charity 4children have stated that parents can make use of the health visitors at the centres and are less likely to go to their GP's surgery with non-critical issues.

The Royal College of GPs says that doctors have voiced the fact that there is a problem with communication and important data has not been transferred to them.

It said it was crucial that GPs had more involvement with mothers during and following a child's birth and health visitors needed to be sure they linked up with GP practices.

Professor Steve Fields of the Royal College of GPs said: "Mums-to-be are not getting the service they could have had five or 10 years ago. It is an unintended consequence of children's centres being established and health visitors moving out of GPs' surgeries."

"What we have to do very quickly, is to get GPs more engaged during pregnancy and to get the health visitors to link in much more with the practices."

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